Venom was a potently addictive strength-enhancing super-steroid. According to JSA Classified #17 (November 2006), Venom was based on the Miraclo Formula that was developed at Bannerman Pharmaceuticals, the drug company that was formerly owned by Rex Tyler, the original Hourman. The first appearance of the drug was a five-part story arc, Batman: Venom, in the Batman Anthology Series, Legends of the Dark Knight, issues 16-20. Batman became addicted to the drug while he searched for a way to surpass his limitations. Later, it resurfaced as the power source for Bane, who used it to overpower and cripple Batman in the Knightfall Story Arc. A variant of the original Venom was used by President Lex Luthor in the first "Superman/Batman" Story Arc.
In Other Media
In Batman Beyond, steroid patches known as "Slappers" contained small doses of impact-release Venom. They were mainly used as performance enhancers in competitive sports, although the use of multiple patches could produce Bane-like combat abilities. However, they were highly addictive, where long time users of the Slappers started to need one just to get through a normal day.
- In the 1997 feature film, Batman & Robin, Venom was based on snake venom samples that were used by Dr. Pamela Isley, which were injected into plants to give them the power to defend themselves, like animals. Her co-worker, Dr. Jason Woodrue, stole the samples from her lab and engineered the Venom compound to create a super-soldier army of which Bane was the prototype. Those Venom samples were also part of Isley's transformation into Poison Ivy.
- Venom was mentioned in the Gotham episode, "Viper", where it was revealed to be an improved version of the titular drug. It was created by a subsidiary of Wayne Enterprises in a move that was implied to be off the books. In addition, it was ostensibly intended to be used for warfare.
Batman: Arkham Asylum introduced a highly-altered version of Venom that was called Titan. That formula was developed by Dr. Penelope Young to strengthen the inmates of Arkham Asylum so that they could survive the most stressful treatment methods that were needed against the hardcore insanity of many of Arkham's worst. After The Joker learned of the chemical's potential, he funded Dr. Young's research under the alias Jack White, and allowed her to have Bane covertly transferred to Arkham from Blackgate Prison and drained the Venom from his blood, which caused Bane to suffer from debilitating side effects and near-constant pain.
Titan was much more potent than Venom, and required only a small amount for a Bane-like reaction. The treatment had a price, as the sudden release of endorphins and adrenaline, along with the extreme pain of the transformation, resulted in the recipient going into a crazed, psychotic state. The subject underwent not only a size change, but grotesque facial and muscular disfigurement, and even caused their spinal columns to become exposed. Only the Joker retained his normal personality after his injection, as he was already insane, and actually enjoyed the painful transformation, which in his case, caused his exposed spinal column to resemble a set of dorsal fins. Batman, after he took a Titan-filled dart that was meant for the captive Commissioner Gordon, chose to resist the change and used the antidote on himself, much to Joker's chagrin. It was possible the drug reduced even Joker's intelligence, for while the fight was a ferocious one, Batman had no trouble in finding a strategy to bring Joker down. Whatever his overall health, Joker did not look well when he was shown in withdrawal during the game's closing scenes, nor did his formerly enhanced henchmen.
In Batman: Arkham Origins, Bane was shown as being one of the eight assassins who was hired to kill Batman on Christmas Eve. Besides his regular use of Venom, which he acknowledged as a weakness, Bane also developed a variant of Venom, TN-1, as a means to overcome his addiction, but was reluctant to use it until it was perfected because it caused permanent and gradual memory loss. Bane learned about Batman's true identity, but the drug seemed to have the effect of memory loss on the user. The drug greatly increased the user's bone density and muscle strength.
- In the original Venom storyline from Legends of The Dark Knight, the formula's supposed creator took another drug of his own creation, that one meant to vastly stimulate his intelligence. Just as almost all forms of Venom seemed to increase aggression along with strength, that drug reduced the scientist's emotional connections to his life, to the point where he felt nothing as he successfully staged the death of his young daughter in a phony kidnapping in order to draw in Batman, whom he saw as the perfect test subject for Venom, to him. In his coldness, he saw his child only as a means to an end. Like many a minor and major foe, he did not reckon on Batman's enormous will to overcome the addiction. Ironically, he was killed in custody while he attempted to escape after he took Venom, which in his case, seemed to have made the attempted escape bloody, but poorly planned. Whether that drug was a Venom variant remained unknown, and it was not referenced since that original story.